It's Wife Wisdom Wednesday!!! I couldn't be more excited about this series of wife wisdom. Over the next 5 weeks, I will be sharing my thoughts and experience on the figuring out and applying love languages to your marriage or relationship as found in the book "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. I picked up this book over 6 years ago during a period of time when my husband and I needed it the most. Trust had been broken and we were both trying to put the pieces back together. One thing about real love, no matter what you go through, if you really love someone you will exhaust all options to make it work, before giving up.
In my 12 years of dating and marital bliss, I've found that there is a thin line between making or breaking a relationship and it's controlled by how you communicate with each other. In "The 5 Love Languages", Chapman discusses the importance of spouses knowing and communicating their love languages. In my very own relationship, I've found that not knowing what you or your spouses love language are will breach the lines of communication, often causing conflict and misunderstanding of each others emotions and expectations. Think about it, the ultimate goal of being married is to live happily every after right?
Ok, so before I get into Love Language #1 - Words of Affirmation. I want to say go pick up the book, it's a great read. Follow along with me in the next 5 weeks.
LOVE LANGUAGE #1
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
Did you know that these two scriptures were back to back? "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." Proverbs 18: 21 & 22. Interesting to say the least. We have the power to speak life into our relationships. We also have the power to speak death into our relationship. Well you might say, I would never speak death into my relationship. Yeah, I said that too. Until one day, sitting in marriage counseling, sorting out our issues, the light bulb went off. I finally realized that I was part of the problem. I wasn't a good listener, I always complained about what I thought he did wrong, not recognizing the things he was doing right. I had pushed him away, death had literally set up in our marriage. When I thought I was helping him I was really hurting him. I was hurting us. What he needed from me as a wife "what is good" was affirmation.
Looking back, I think to myself, how did I not know this? I know I'm supposed to be uplifting, encouraging, appreciative, loving, kind, humble, and patient. How did we get to this point? "The 5 Love Languages" talks about how the emotional connection and newness of being "in love" and blinded by it wears off after about 2 years. After that, you have to work at the love itself. At that point we were 3 years past that mark. Five years in this relationship thing and it started to fall apart. Where did we go wrong? I believe we didn't understand our love language. The book goes into detail on how use words of affirmation to strengthen your communication. If your spouses love language is words of affirmation, it is your responsibility to take action. Start affirming, start speaking life. Your spouse will be more receptive to connect with you if you are meeting the need of building him up. Here is an example of something I've done time and time and time again.
Me: Ugh (with attitude) you never help out around the house. I'm expected to do laundry, clean toilets, sweep and mop floors, dishes, take out the trash, find someone to mow the yard, cook sometimes...blah blah blah blah blah. I work too!
Okay, Now before I get to Quinton's response, note I always complained and when I complained there would be a quick fix. He might help out every once in a while and I might have noticed that he done so. One day we were discussing the issue and I finally had that ah ha moment. I felt so bad, thinking to myself. I can't read your mind! Why didn't you just say that! Until he expressed how he felt, I just assumed he was lazy. His response:
Quinton: Tru, when I get home from work, I just want to sit down and do nothing. Try pushing thorough 3,200 lbs of concrete in a day and tell me how you feel. When I get home I am literally tired and exhausted.
Me: *silence* Feeling embarrassed and selfish. Thinking that I have failed at my real duties of lifting him up, encouraging him. I'm complaining that he didn't take out the trash, while he is out there doing back breaking work in sometimes 100 degree weather. WOW! Baby, I'm so sorry.
Ever sense then, I make it a point for my approach to be different. I honesty try not to complain about anything. I don't want to take life itself for granted over little things that really don't matter. So all the things I used to complain about, I don't. I just do it if it needs to be done. Our conversations go more like this.
Me: Hey baby! I hope you had a good day. How was it? Did you work hard... somedays lighter than others, especially now that he is working in a different field.
If you know Quinton he is quite reserved and doesn't say very much. However, by being open minded and humble with how approach him when communicating, he has began to open up more than ever. He is receiving and responding to it. In return, it has allowed us to grow.
So this is what you should do this week. Ask yourself, what am I complaining about? Stop complaining and approach it differently by using words of affirmation to build up your mate this week. I would love to hear your success stories! E-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will anonymously post success throughout this series.
Oh there is also a bonus this week! I've included pictures for you below to help illustrate WORDS OF AFFIRMATION.